“Thank you for staying by my side while I was at the hospital. Mom told me you didn’t even leave to go shower.” My thumb strokes the top of Ren’s hand as he drives us home.
“Of course. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be, even with my niece grilling me about the two of us and what we have. Let me tell you, there’s no sidestepping a subject with her. It’s a miracle I got her to drop it while you recover.” Ren blows out a breath, remembering Bella’s interrogation tactics.
“Are you wanting to keep us a secret a little longer?” My heart can’t help but deflate a little at the idea of his not wanting us to be public.
“Are you crazy? I love you and now that you’ve admitted to loving me back, there’s nowhere to move but forward.”
“Don’t say that around my mom. She’s bound to break out her little black book and start making plans.” I chuckle to myself, remembering how my mom reacted when first meeting Ren.
Ren laughs but his heart isn’t in it. Poor guy. I must’ve traumatized him with my rejection of his proposal.
Squeezing his hand, I turn my gaze toward the window but my brows furrow as I take in our surroundings. “Where are we going?”
We’re in Ren’s G-Wagon but instead of heading toward downtown, Ren exits the highway, taking us down a path toward White Rock Lake.
“To get a do-over.” His tone is clipped but playful.
“What?” I laugh, unsure of what he’s talking about.
“You’ll see.” He winks while biting at the edge of his bottom lip.
We get on a road that winds around the massive lake where sailboats and kayakers drift by. It’s a gorgeous day, and the sun that had previously been my demise is now warming the multiple park-goers as they go about their daily activities.
My curiosity is growing to an all-time high when Ren suddenly pulls into a hidden driveway. What in the world?
The SUV slowly drives up a winding path and behind the beautiful tree-lined drive stands a modern ranch style home.
Its stunning all-white brick facade is contrasted with black trimming and a black metal roof. Massive windows span the entire front of the home, no doubt put in to take advantage of the views.
Sure enough, stepping out of the car you’re able to look back toward the park and get a full view of the lake.
“What are we doing here?” Looking toward Ren, I see that he’s exchanged his smile for a nervous smirk.
“What?” I’m pretty sure I suffered a concussion along with all the other stuff I had going on because there’s no way this is real life.
“I’d put an offer in on this place when we were on our way back from the Cape. They accepted and I had them sign over a temporary lease until closing. That way we could have full access while the paperwork is completed.”
“But why?” I see that my words raise a little panic in my gorgeous man’s face, so I wrap my arms around his torso in order to soothe him. “Babe, I love it. I’m just wondering what on earth possessed you to do this?”
“Security. While we were at the hospital, the team came by and wired the entire place, setting up a new security system that will keep our family safe. It’s a hell of a lot safer than you would be in some high-rise.”
His use of the word ‘family’ has warmth blooming in my chest. The idea of Ren running around chasing our babies in this yard has my ovaries practically bursting with excitement.
“Do you like it?”
“No, I don’t like it. I love it!” I shake my head at him in disbelief. “You’d have to be a crazy person not to.”
His face lights up and I can tell he feels proud of his decision. Though I wish he would have included me in the process of finding our new home, I know how important safety and security are to him, so I’m willing to let it slide.
Looking around the grounds, I can’t help but grin. “This is exactly what I envisioned my dream home would look like. It’s as if you dove into my mind and plucked it straight from my imagination.”
“Close. I may or may not have peeked at your Pinterest board. But in my defense, you’d left the browser open.” Ren dons a smile as he squeezes me tighter. “But hey, you can’t be mad with a view like this, right?”
He motions toward the lake, making me take in another view of our new reality. Just as I’m about to look back at him I see four sailboats with black writing on their mainsails.
My knees buckle and my eyes water as I read what they say.
WILL. YOU. MARRY. ME?
Turning back toward Ren, I see that he’s down on one knee holding a gorgeous solitaire diamond on a thin platinum band.
“Cassandra Marie Martinez, my little angel. When I was at my darkest, you saved me. When I thought life wasn’t worth living, you brought me hope. When I’d lost my way and forgotten the meaning of life, you showed me the way. Let me spend the rest of my life showing you my gratitude and unconditional love… will you do me the honor of becoming my partner in life—my other half?”
“Yes! A million times, yes!” I fling myself toward him, enveloping him in my arms. “I love you so much, Ren.” I tackle him to the ground and ferociously attack his mouth.
Someone whistling has me reluctantly pulling away from Ren. Looking up, I see that it’s coming from Bella, who’s standing by the front double doors to the home.
“I love you like a sister and I’m happy you’ll officially be a part of the family, but I’m not exactly ready to see you making out with my uncle.” Bella grins while rushing toward us.
The whole gang exits through the front doors, and Ren even managed to con my mom and sisters into showing up without spoiling the surprise. A massive feat since my sisters don’t know the meaning of a secret.
Before I can get a word out, I’m surrounded by my loved ones, being smothered in congratulatory kisses and hugs.
I’m so damn happy.
Looking at Ren, I say, “This is one hell of a do-over, babe.”
Bella tugs at my arm, pulling my attention back to her, “Hold up, Ren’s proposed to you more than once? You have some serious filling in to do missy. Don’t think you’re off the hook from keeping all of this from me.”
I place my hand on her belly while raising a brow, “Looks like I wasn’t the only one keeping secrets. How about we go inside and catch up on everything?”
As I’m pulling my best friend into our new home, Ren bellows from behind, “Not everything. She’s still my niece!”
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